All hail the workout-buddy – that one person to help motivate you off the couch and encourage (sometimes drag) you to the beach for a 7am jog. They’re certainly invaluable when it comes to picking you up when you’re feeling deflated. But did you know that there’s an entire science behind working out together that actually improves your weight loss success?
It’s no coincidence that on body building forums and online fitness groups you regularly see shout-outs from people searching for a gym buddy. Research over the past decade has clearly shown that there’s a correlation between successful weight loss and partnering up with a friend to pump some iron. In 2009, Professor Shiriki Kumanyika and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, observed 344 men and women over a 2 year period, some of which had joined a fitness group on their own and some in pairs. Interestingly, researchers discovered that the progress of the training partner had a direct impact on the progress of the other person. When a training partner shed at least 5 per cent of their body weight, the other person experienced a greater weight loss than those whose partner shifted less than 5 per cent. In conclusion, the better your training buddy does, the better you’ll do too!
So why is that? Researchers believe that simply SEEING another person do well is enough to create extra energy in the participant, pushing them to achieve better results for themselves.
But for those of you who are struggling to find a workout buddy, there’s great news!
According to research led by Deborah Feltz, chairperson of MSU's Department of Kinesiology and published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, working out with a virtual buddy is just as effective! Yes, you read that correctly. If you find someone online to partake in a virtual fitness game from home, or even a forum friend who can share their progress with you, you’re already improving your chances of success. That’s one of the reasons we have started the Luxe Fitness Community page on Facebook. There, you can find plenty of people to help put you on the right path and keep you there.
But when searching for the perfect fitness partner, whether they be online or offline, it’s important you consider a few things in advance.
- They need to be just as committed to the process as you are. If either one of you drops out, the other will suffer.
- They should have similar fitness goals. The goals don’t need to be identical, but if you’re both on separate paths it may be more challenging to keep each other going.
- They need to follow a similar schedule to you so that you can find appropriate times to exercise. For example, if you’re both free on a Thursday and Saturday evening, you’ll be able to sync up and use those days to hit the beach.
- It’s advantageous (although not critical) if you’re both within a similar age and fitness range so that you can match up your workouts and push each other to the max.
- You should feel comfortable enough with them (and them with you) to discuss your doubts, barriers and fears as they emerge. Losing weight can be daunting and there are bound to be moments when you both feel like quitting. Feeling free to discuss this openly is therefore crucial to maintaining motivation and long term success.
To give you even more motivation, we’re offering an exclusive, time limited Luxe Bestie Challenge which comes with three awesome prizes for the winning besties. Click herefor more information. The next start date is 30thJuly, so you’ll need to act fast!
Missed the challenge? Don’t worry. There are still enormous benefits to working out with friends, family, colleagues and online communities, so start searching for the perfect workout buddy today!